Big things with little cars

Spaghetti Saturday: Fiat Abarth 131 Rally

Is it still Bread Box week? I’m not sure, but I felt the need to get back to something slightly more awesome, so here’s a Bread Box turned Hero. The Fiat 131 was released in 1974 to replace the very popular 124 family sedan.

Advertisement

In 1976, 400 examples of the Fiat Abarth 131 Rally were built for homologation purposes. These cars were built in a cooperation between Fiat, Bertone and Abarth. Bertone took part-completed two door standard bodyshells from the production line in Mirafiori, fitted plastic mudguards front and rear, a plastic bonnet and bootlid and modified the metal structure to accept the independent rear suspension. The cars were fully painted an trimmed and then delivered back to the Fiat special Rivalta plant where they received the Abarth mechanicals.

The street version of the car used a 16-valve DOHC derivative of the standard DOHC engine, which equipped with a double Weber downdraught carburettor produced 140 PS (103 kW; 138 hp). The street cars used the standard gearbox with no synchromesh (Rally type regulations required the use of the same type of synchromesh on the competition cars as on the street versions) and the hopelessly underdimensioned brake system of the small Fiat 127.

Advertisement

Competition cars used dry sump lubrication and eventually Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection. In race specifications, the engine produced up to 240 PS (180 kW) in 1980, being driven to World Championship status by Walter Röhrl.

Advertisement

But the car shown here is not the Röhrl version, but the one driven by Finnish driver Markku Alen, who won the 1978 Driver’s Championship in the car.

Advertisement

This one is a Tomica Dandy model, and while it is mostly of the same high quality as other Tomica models, the ill-fitting engine cover is a bit of a let down. Much like other racing car models by Tomica, it also comes with a set of additional stickers - but as with all Tomica, it is better not to apply them as they will start to peel and yellow pretty quickly.

Advertisement

So here’s a heroic Bread Box for you. I have a “similar but different” one sitting here, but I still need to get that tool to get it off the plinth...

Share This Story

Get our newsletter